Q. The Bible says, “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek, too.” How could we live in this way in the world where injustice is prevalent?
A. This scripture doesn’t imply that we should tolerate and surrender to injustice or unrighteousness unconditionally, by doing exactly as these words say. This means that we should not struggle against illusions by using other illusions, but rather leave them alone and trace them back to their root.
The most common way that we cope with illusions, especially when faced with negative ones, is to strive to get rid of them by means of other illusions. ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’ is a good metaphor that shows how we react to illusions. This is like ‘An illusion for an illusion’. In this way, you can’t win the fight against illusions. You will further strengthen and multiply rather than remove them because an illusion bears yet more illusions. Put in another way, this simply means that you are deluded by illusions.
On the contrary, the scripture ‘If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek, too’ is a metaphor that teaches us not to be fooled by illusions but to leave them alone and trace them back to their root, instead of fighting against them by making other illusions. In this way, we can make use of illusions as a gate to enlightenment or heaven and realise that all illusions are part of heaven, or the true Self in Buddhism.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway http://ow.ly/i/x9vC5